The Affordable Care Act and the future of clinical medicine: the opportunities and challenges

Ann Intern Med. 2010 Oct 19;153(8):536-9. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-8-201010190-00274. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


The Affordable Care Act is a once-in-a-generation change to the U.S. health system. It guarantees access to health care for all Americans, creates new incentives to change clinical practice to foster better coordination and quality, gives physicians more information to make them better clinicians and patients more information to make them more value-conscious consumers, and changes the payment system to reward value. The Act and the health information technology provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act remove many barriers to delivering high-quality care, such as unnecessary administrative complexity, inaccessible clinical data, and insufficient access to primary care and allied health providers. We hope that physicians will embrace the opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act that will enable them to provide better care for their patients and lead the U.S. health system in a more positive direction. To fully realize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for their practices and their patients, physicians will design their offices for seamless care, employing new practice models and using technology to integrate patient information with professional society guidelines to keep patients with chronic conditions healthy and out of the hospital. Under the Affordable Care Act, physicians who effectively collaborate with other providers to improve patient outcomes, the value of medical services, and patient experiences will thrive and be the leaders of the health care system.

MeSH terms

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act*
  • Clinical Medicine / organization & administration
  • Clinical Medicine / standards
  • Clinical Medicine / trends*
  • Electronic Health Records / trends
  • Forecasting
  • Health Care Reform / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Patient Care Team / trends
  • Patient-Centered Care / trends
  • Preventive Health Services / trends
  • Quality of Health Care / trends
  • United States